Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Honored and Excited

Tonight's Annual Peoria Chapter Dinner:

Every year the Peoria Cystic Fibrosis Foundation hosts an Annual Dinner/Meeting. The latest and greatest news about the CF Foundation, research, and patient care is discussed. CF center reps, Pharmaceutical companies, CF Foundation Leaders, and Volunteers all come together for the same reason: to share and learn more about CF (ultimately to CURE it)!

Tonight I was beyond excited and honored to be not only invited (only 1 CF person per indoor event is allowed, due to cross infection rules), but I was also asked to be the guest speaker tonight. If you would like to hear my speech, then head over to the YouTube Video of it HERE.  I was very touched to receive the "Great Strides Partner of the Year" - Which typically goes to a Great Strides team, Corporate Sponsor; someone who pushes to make Great Strides grow and succeed every year. Which is what I try to do, but mostly I just loved being there. Connecting with others and sharing my story. No two CF stories are the same and I think the more people hear, the more they learn. Which is HUGE in awareness & finding a cure! I had talked at a couple great strides walks, but this speech was different. Since everyone there knew what CF was, I wanted to really touch on a lot of points. I do believe in my heart everything I said in my speech is true.

I am motivated for many reasons. 1. The future of all CF patients 2. I can be voice, therefore I should be 3. And Lastly, because Laura LOVED Great Strides and got me involved. If Laura was alive today, I'd send her my award in the mail. She was/ is still my biggest motivation.

My parents and Andrew were able to come (my sister wanted to, but was sick, so she likes to stay away from me when that happens). I could tell they learned a lot about the patient support given to the Care Centers and the advancements being made also in research. While I had heard a lot about most of the research information from tuning in to the Cystic Fibrosis Volunteer Leadership Conference, I did learn a few new (awesome) things about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

1. Did you know when we set up our nationwide Care Center network in 1955, we were the first disease awareness group to do so?

2. Also, because of our ability to grow as a Foundation, on so many levels, many other organizations are now learning our Network Model to follow in our foot steps. They are also using our foundation as examples when teaching about Network Models (at Harvard).

- Think about that... Not only is the CF Foundation ROCKING it, and keeping us on top with research, patient care, and care centers.... BUT, is a role model for other disease awareness. Think about the impact it could make for other genetic diseases. We are talking about something even greater than just curing CF...Curing so many OTHER genetic diseases along with CF too (down the road).

3. The CF Foundation is the only foundation to have their own research facility (that they own & run). It focuses on research and advancement. Plus, it has tripled in size since its creation.

4. If you haven't read the latest on research for CF, check it out on the drug pipeline at cff.org. 
 - Imagine being able to correct the defective gene (no matter the mutation).  - It may be a decade or two away from that goal, but the fact we can see it in the future is DEFINITELY amazing! Plus, there are lots of new research & trials currently be done! 

The Peoria Chapter is considered a small (division) Chapter. There are so many wonderful volunteers and great events! To name a few: Champaign, Bloomington, Tuscola, Princeton, and Peoria Great Strides Walks. Colton Underwood's Football Camp, the Suzanna Lee Golf Outing, Red Dog festival, Breath of Life Gala, and many others! Make sure to follow CFF Peoria Chapter on FB & Twitter!

The 3 awards given out this year:

1. Outstanding Special Events Partners: Red dog, Canton, IL - A huge fantastic event, July 9, 2016 Music, Food, Fun! Find them on Facebook for more info!

2. Great Strides Partner of the Year:  Cheriz Kunkel - You know what I do... Help with Food/Entertainment for Champaign/ Peoria Walks and Organize Princeton Great Strides (thanks to everyone who helps).Here is the link to my National Fundraising page, it has all the walks & donations so far for 2016.

3. Volunteer of the Year: Colton Underwood, NFL Linebacker for Oakland Raiders, started a summer football camp for kids in Washington, IL- all proceeds go to the CF Foundation! Camp June 25, 2016, Dinner Banquet June 24, 2016

It was fantastic seeing so many people come together for tonight's event. I love the Peoria Chapter CF Foundation and hope to continue to see it grow!

If you want to particpate, volunteer, walk, donate, contact me! I can help ya! Again, thanks to Kellie & all the volunteers :-)